Chapter 7 – The Governor’s Hall
A rumor is abroad that some of the main citizens of the town feel that Pearl
should be taken away from Hester. On hearing this Hester sets out for Governor Bellingham’s mansion to plead her case.
She needs no excuse to go to the house for she has to deliver gloves for him in any event.
Pearl has been dressed in an elaborate scarlet dress with gold thread.
While they wait to see the Governor, Hester and Pearl stand before his suit of armor, and they stare at the exaggerated scarlet A as it is reflected in the polished breastplate. Hester ponders her daughter’s changed image.
Hawthorne uses clever imagery to heighten the tension arising before
Hester’s interview with the Governor, which is symbolized by the pair staring at their strange reflections in the armor.
Will Hester be further punished, by having her only companion taken away
from her? Things do not look good. We recall Pearl’s unruly behavior. Instead of being an angel of virtue she has become a pestilence intimidating the other children of the town whenever she comes
into contact with them.
It is curious that Hester moves so that the scarlet A appears to consume her in the reflection. Perhaps this is how she really feels and clearly she fears that she is being consumed by sin and evil.